According to the latest reports, an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese army sniper late Sunday as he drove along the border which is drawing threats of retaliation.
The shooting near Rosh Hanikra raised the possibility of renewed fighting in the volatile area which has been relatively quiet since the month-long war in 2006. It appears that Hezbollah which was the guerrilla group that waged the war did not seem to be involved in Sunday’s incident.
Lebanon’s National News Agency confirmed the shooting by a member of the Lebanese army but it was not clear why the soldiers opened fire. In history, on several occasions, the Lebanese army has opened fire claiming Israeli soldiers had tried to infiltrate. Lebanese security officials did not immediately comment.
An Israeli army spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said Israel had protested “this outrageous breach of Israel’s sovereignty” with U.N. peacekeeping forces and also heightened its state of preparedness. “We will not tolerate aggression against the state of Israel, and maintain the right to exercise self-defense against perpetrators of attacks against Israel and its civilians,” he said.
In the most serious incident on the border since the 2006 war, a high-ranking Israeli officer was killed by a Lebanese sniper after Israeli forces tried to cut down a tree along the border to which Israel responded with artillery fire, killing two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist. In other incidents, Israel has responded with airstrikes and artillery fire following a number of rocket attacks and shootings across the border.
According to U.N. spokesman, Andrea Tenenti, “The incident happened on the Israeli side of the blue line,” referring to a U.N.-drawn line demarcating the border between the two enemy states. He gave no further details stating UNIFIL was still investigating.
Hezbollah, which has an arsenal of tens of thousands of missiles and rockets aimed at Israel, is preoccupied with the war in Syria where it is aiding the forces of President Bashar Assad. Israeli officials believe Hezbollah is not interested in opening a new front with Israel at the present time.
To see my initial report on this incident, click here: https://fggam.org/shots-fired-along-israel-lebanon-border/